What lessons can Christians learn from this short-lived, little worm?
by Wilawan Kanthawong
The wealth of the ancient Chinese could be attributed to one industry—silk. So important was this trade, that they imposed the death penalty on anyone who took silkworm eggs out of the country.
Despite this harsh penalty, in the fourth century, a Chinese princess carried some eggs out of the country in her headdress when she married a man in Bachara, a medieval Islamic center of trade. From there, the eggs spread to other nations. Today, silk remains the “queen of fiber.”
Silkworm eggs are laid on mulberry leaves. These eggs are so tiny that it takes 40,000 to make one ounce! Fertilized eggs hatch into a black larva with stiff little hairs. It looks like a little ant and in Chinese is called an “ant silkworm.”
Silkworms eat continuously for twenty-six days, growing new skins and shedding the old ones, a process called molting. The silkworm molts five times, and then spins its cocoon. The thread from a single cocoon is about one-and-a-half kilometers, or one mile long! It then it becomes a pupa.
When ready for its adult stage, the pupa secretes a special saliva which dissolves a hole in the cocoon, so it can push its way through the silk to the world outside as a silkworm moth. Within minutes of emerging from its cocoon, the silkworm moth finds a mate. Mating lasts one day, and the female lays eggs immediately afterward. The moths die naturally after one week.
Poor silkworms! What short lives they have! But, they leave behind a most valuable gift for us—their raw silk thread.
In this, their life is similar to that of Jesus Christ. He came to Earth on a mission to save His people from sin and eternal death. He labored hard—teaching, healing and making disciples, but only for three-and-a-half short years. However, the impact of His life remains to the present. He said, “For I came down from Heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me…that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:38-40.
In His ministry, Jesus spun the beautiful threads of faith, love and honor to God for us to weave into a fine fabric. By beholding and following His example, we then turn that fabric into elegant clothes, representing His character. Shall we not accept that gift of love from Him and wear the valuable silk garment of His character?v
Character Sketches (Institute in Basic Life Principles, Inc. Oak Brook, IL, U. S.)
Wilawan (Kwan) Kanthawong, from Thailand, was a student at Hartland College when she wrote this article.